1. The Return of Bobby V.

It’s old news now but it’s damn good news. Bobby Valentine is our new manager. I’m excited. He’s almost perfect for the job. The imperfections—when they come, not if—will be his forthrightness and what comes with that. He will get in hot water but who cares? We need it. We need some fire back. And he won’t just be candid to the media. He’ll be like that with players and they need it, some more than others.

The resumé of Bobby V is sort of epic, for a man who’s never won a division as a coach before: NL pennant, World Series berth, Japanese championship. He’s taken teams to every level of success and that’s important in Boston. He knows how to win and he’ll have a lineup to do it if they want it bad enough. And, after September, they better effing want it.

We’re in a good place to win.

2. The Veterans: Papi and ‘Tek

No offence to Wake, but these two stalwarts are most important issues the Sox face for many reasons. Can we keep both?

First, Papi. We need him. There’s no better DH in the game. Period. Having him in the lineup forces pitchers to rethink a lot, especially after his ‘vs. left-handed pitching’ turn around last season; his best since 2007. He deserves security and to end his storied career in the town he helped raise from the ashes of The Curse. Ben, give him three years and the clams he deserves. Imagine the banter between Bobby and he.

But then the downside: ‘Tek. Salty’s coming along nicely and Ryan Lavarnway showed he can handle major league pitching, for the time he was in the bigs (although he could pull a Reddick and not adjust to smart pitchers who watch video). If they think Larvarnway is ready for a full-time spot, there won’t be room for ‘Tek, and there lies the dilemma. They both need ‘Tek for guidance and mentorship. If they don’t resign Papi, they can carry ‘Tek and use a rotation between DH and catcher for all three. If they sign Papi, it’s ‘Tek or Lavarnway, maturity or youth, past or future.

3. Ryan Westmoreland

This guy must be superhuman. Taken in the 2008 First-Year Player draft, out of Portsmouth (R.I.) High School, he played the 2009 season for Lowell with these stats:

.296 BA, .484 SLG, .401 OBP, .885 OPS, 18 XBH, 7 HR, 35 RBI 19 SB in 60 games 

Five-tool playing stud!

But he underwent brain surgery in March 2010 (cavernous malformation). That’s serious shit. He went blind for a bit but has since taken huge steps in his recovery. Ian Brown reported “Westmoreland is expected to face pitching in Dominican instructional league games later this week.” Really. He’s back playing and is set to take live at-bats.

Once regarded, if not still, as the best position prospect in the Sox farm system, this is great news. He may not reach the levels he was predicted to but that’s kind of inconsequential. The fact that he’s made it this far is, in itself, phenomenal.

4. A ‘C’ for Pedey?

Lastly, if, in the horrible, debilitating circumstance, ‘Tek leaves, should the Sox slap the ‘C’ on Dustin’s jersey? Last season showed me, personally, that he’s the heart of that team. If every player composed themselves during game time like Pedey—maybe minus the overt ego—September wouldn’t have happened. Obviously, I have no idea what he’s like behind closed doors, but he acts like a leader and he’s got the fire burning.